MURPHY, NC— On Sept. 27, 2022, 32-year-old Charles Anthony (CJ) Payne appeared before the Honorable William Coward and entered a plea of guilty to Statutory Sexual Offense (Rape) with a Person who is 15 years of Age or Younger.
Judge Coward sentenced Payne to a term of a minimum of 168 months to a maximum of 262 months in the Department of Adult Corrections, with a credit for 560 days of pretrial confinement. Upon his release from DAC Payne will be required to register as a sex offender for 30 years and will have a permanent no-contact order with the victim.
In Sept. 2020 the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office began an investigation into a missing juvenile female. During the investigation Charles Anthony (CJ) Payne became a person of interest. Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office Investigators, and Haven Child Advocacy Center, worked collaboratively with the District Attorney Office of Ashely Welch to gather evidence including cellular telephone information, social media information, and biological evidence which enabled them to obtain sufficient evidence to present the case to the Cherokee County Grand Jury on Mar. 08, 2021, who handed down the indictment on Payne.
“As you can imagine numerous hours and resources were spent conducting this investigation. These cases demonstrate the professionalism of these individuals who worked cooperatively to bring about this outcome. We want to thank the Office of District Attorney Welch along with the HAVEN Child Advocacy Center for their diligence and cooperation and teamwork in this investigation. We also pray for all in this and these types of investigations,” stated Sheriff Derrick Palmer.
To report suspicious activity and suspect violations of the law please call 828-837-1344 or submit a tip at [email protected].